Our proper rest

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

We need to know what our proper rest really is. Nowadays, people have different and even conflicting ideas about what it is. For some it’s purely something physical. For others, it’s more on the emotional and psychological side.

There are those who think that resting is doing what they like to do at the moment, enjoying a peaceful moment, sipping a favorite drink. Still others believe it’s having the sensation of letting go of something that weighs heavily on their mind and heart. Still, others think that it’s about achieving a goal they had set.

All of these have their valid points. But I believe there’s still a higher metric that would best define what our proper rest is and that would somehow integrate all these other ideas about rest. And that’s whether we manage to be with God at the end of the day—or of our life.

Let’s always remember what Christ said in this regard. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11,28) We need to understand that our proper rest is when we manage to come home to Christ, who solves everything, especially those things we cannot solve anymore.

We cannot deny that many of our ideas about rest can satisfy only an aspect of our need for rest. If it isn’t in the physical, then it’s in the emotional or the psychological. If it isn’t in the emotional or psychological, then it’s in the mental, etc. Not that these types of rest do not give us some real relief. They do, but somehow only partially.

I believe the real issue about rest nowadays is that we don’t really know what our proper rest is. It’s a pity because especially these days when many of us feel harassed and agitated, tense and nervous because of all the problems, difficulties, challenges, trials, pressures, etc., of modern life, there’s a great need to know and to enjoy the real and proper rest for us, one that gives us true and lasting joy and peace.

Since this proper rest is hardly known and resorted to, many of us have gone to all forms of escapism—from addiction to heavy drinks, drugs, pornography and sex to serious cases of depression, mental illnesses, and even self-harm and suicide.

There’s a crying need to educate people about the true rest that can only come from being with God. The difficulty here is that many people think that involving God in their search for rest compromises their freedom. “What if I’m not a God-inclined man? What if I’m not a religious person?” some would ask.

But that’s precisely the challenge to face—how to convert people so they realize that only in God would the real and proper rest for us be achieved. They have to realize that God is a necessity for us. He’s not just an optional element in our life, though we have to relate ourselves to him freely. We need him much more than we need air or food!

We have to understand that the real cause of our tiredness, feelings of harassments and nervousness, etc. isn’t something just biological, physical, emotional or psychological. Neither is the cause simply professional, economic, social or political.

The real and ultimate cause is our detachment from God. It’s this sad condition that explains the many disorders and chaos we can find around—so much anger, hatred, conflict, tension, etc. This condition simply shows that we are detached from the ultimate and sure source of life, energy, power, and of peace and joy.

We should do something about this sorry condition of ours. Our proper rest is when there is joy and peace, a deep sense of freedom and liberation, a burning desire to love!

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